Tulip Time Again

My internet has been down all evening.  The trouble shooter said that my computer was trying to connect to a server that didn’t exist (reminding me forcibly of an old SF story, the details of which escape me, but a whole town is severed from the rest of the Universe, and lives in fear of the boy who did it).  Not much I could do about that.

Then it told me that my router was non-functional.

I am the least techy person in the world, but I have been pulling at wires, and shaking things for a little while now.  Then the router connection light suddenly flipped from yellow to green.  Was it something I did?  Or did a Sky engineer, many miles away, just give something a kick?  I shall never know.

But it’s very late, and I’m frazzled, so I shall calm myself with some tulip images and leave everything else until tomorrow.

These images are all from the same gardener.

Lovely, cheerful tubs:

Rob d A


A lavender double

Rob 1 A


A dark red parrot tulip.  Parrot tulips are characterized by the large, irregularly shaped flowers, with petals (okay, technically tepals) that look like the feathers of some exotic tropical parrot.  The more flamboyant the appearance and the colour, the better.  There is NOTHING shy or retiring about a parrot tulip.

Rob 2 A


Another pair of parrot tulips.

Rob b A


More doubles

Rob c A


And another look at those cheerful tubs.  Also, we get a sneaky peak at the summerhouse – in previous posts, we’ve seen the progress of the verandah, and I’ve got the latest image in that series to show you later.

Rob e A

Don’t you just love tulips?

And now, as Samuel Pepys would say, ‘And so to bed’.  And my internet connection had better be here in the morning…

Tulip Time

I have a number of images squirreled away from members of the gardening groups, ready to post here.  Some of them are just single images, some are a group.  But what I have the most of is tulips.  So, I think that this week is Tulip Time.

Here’s the first.

Hugh's fringed tulips

They are fringed tulips, looking as though someone has gone round them with a very fine pair of pinking shears.  ‘Fringed’ is one of the divisions into which the tulips we buy have been classified, but you don’t see them around very often.  They come in a range of colours, and some of them are doubles.

These might be ‘Crystal Star’ -they are the right colour, and flowering at the right time – but I might be wrong on that.

They are lovely, and unusual and interesting.

Why not try some fringed tulips next year?

Tuesday Treats

It’s Tuesday Treats time again, and we’ve got another virtual Nature Table.  Here goes, and good luck.


Edited to add: This image was simply titled ‘Acer’, so if you said ‘Acer’, you’d be right.  I’m as sure as I can be that it’s Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’, but which cultivar is a step too far for me from a photo.  What we really need is a label…

Glynis's Acer A


2  The white flowered tree

Edited to add: This is Amelanchier lamarckii, the Snowy Mespilus.

Glynis's Amelanchier lamarckii A


3  Both of the white-flowered plants

Edited to add:  This was a tricky one.  The one at the back used to be Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’, but that isn’t its name anymore, so you only got a ‘half right’ if that’s what you said.  I mean, I’ve moaned and whined enough about how such an elegant plant should be lumbered with its new, very inelegant name – Lamprocapnos.  So, it’s Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

The plant in the front is Narcissus ‘Thalia’, a multi-headed triandrus daffodil with a sweet fragrance.  In Greek myth, Thalia was the name of one of the nine Muses, one of the three Graces, or a nymph.  Whichever Thalia this is named for, the name means ‘flourishing’ or ‘abundance’.

Glynis's Lamprocapnos spectabilis album and Narcissus Thalia A



Edited to add:  This came titled ‘Dicentra’, so I cannot say exactly which cultivar.  It’s of the ‘formosa’ type, although apparently these are so hybridized we don’t use that any more.  I’m guessing it could be either ‘Luxuriant’ or ‘Stuart Boothman’

Hugh's Dicentra



Edited to add:  A lovely double camellia.  I don’t know which one, but I wish I did!

Hugh's Double camellia A


6  The blue-flowered plant (unconnected with the arum leaves in the background)

Edited to add: Don’t overcomplicate things.  It’s a common or garden forget-me-not.  Myosotis sylvatica.

Hugh's Myosotis A


7  The orange-flowered shrub

Edited to add: This picture came to me for identification.  It’s a Berberis.  If you said berberis, give yourself a tick.  I think it’s Berberis darwinii, although there are other orange Berberis.

Lesley's Berberis wish list A



Edited to add.  I couldn’t read the label, but others could!  It’s Saxifrage ‘Pixie Pan Red’

Rob g A


I’ll edit this post to identify our mystery plants after Friday.

Have fun!

Edited to add:  So, how did you get on?

It’s a Mystery

One of our gardeners sent me this image tonight, and I’ve bumped it to the front of the queue of lovely images for the blog.  I’ve done this, because I don’t know what they are, and I hope someone else might.

We’re looking at some seedlings that are about to be transplanted, and the compost has a lot of the white objects on the surface.

They look like eggs of some sort, but they aren’t slugs, snails, earwigs or vine weevil.  I wondered whether they were ant pupae, but they don’t look to be quite the right shape.

Any ideas?

Glynis's mystery eggs A


All suggestions gratefully received.


One of our gardeners sent me an image of a butterfly that he wanted to confirm the identity of.  We know it’s a butterfly, because it rests with its wings upright and together.  Moths lay them flat, so you can see the upper side.

Here is the one in question


Rob's orange tip A


This particular butterfly breeds very early in the year, in April and May.  When this individual opens its wings, it’s white, with a black spot in the top corners, rather like a small cabbage white butterfly, to which it’s related.  But, in this case, that tells us it’s a girl butterfly.  The boy butterflies have a bright orange tip to their forewings.  It’s an Orange Tip.  Even in this position, with the wings upright, you can tell, because nothing else has exactly this green marbling effect that you see on both the boys and the girls.

Right now, they are waiting.

They are waiting for their caterpillars’ food plant to flower and set seed.  Egg-laying has to be very carefully timed, because the caterpillar eats almost nothing else – it’s Alliaria petiolata, or Jack by the Hedge, Hedge Garlic, Hedge Mustard, whatever common name you’re used to.

This native wildflower has leaves that smell faintly of garlic when crushed, especially the young ones.  You can use it in cooking or in salads.  But these caterpillars aren’t after the leaves.  They feed on the seed pods.  The parents need to ensure that the plant they lay eggs on has a good crop of seed pods to come, and new pods that are young enough for the newly-hatched caterpillar to eat.

Jack by the Hedge is a member of the Brassica family, like rocket, or radish, or cabbages, and ornamentals like aubretia and honesty.  Lacking their food plant, caterpillars have been known to feed on honesty seed pods, but success is poor.

I said it eats almost nothing else.  The female butterfly usually lays only one egg per plant, because if there is more than one caterpillar per plant, they will eat each other, so they’re not all sweetness and light, it has to be said.

They will feed on the developing seedpods for about a month, and then they will pupate.  They will find a suitable place to spin a silken thread to attach themselves to the chosen bit of vegetation.  Then, apart from a small node of nerve cells, they will break down their caterpillar bodies into a sort of primordial soup, and reassemble themselves into a butterfly.  They will stay as a pupa until next spring, when they will once more start patrolling, looking for a suitable mate and suitable food plants.

It’s a precarious existence.  Each butterfly has survived as a single egg, as a caterpillar, and almost a year as a pupa.

So, do check that white-flowered plant that looks a bit like honesty before you weed it up.  They need all the help they can get.


Heads up

For anyone interested, I’ve updated this week’s Tuesday Treats to identify the Nature Table plants.

Today’s post to cheer you up shows the value of having seed heads in the garden.

This is what I mean:

Glynis's poppy head sculptures

They’re poppy seed heads, right?  Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy, maybe?


I’m teasing.  Yes, they are poppy seed heads, but they’re also metal sculptures, adding a permanent feature of interest to the garden.

The gardener who sent me this image is starting to major on metal sculptures, and we’ve seen some of hers in the past days.  Winter, I think, is when they particularly come into their own, but they’re welcome at any time.

St George’s Day

I seem to have had a couple of memory lapses.  I’d say ‘senior moments’ but I refuse to accept those.

Firstly, it has been pointed out that I forgot to identify the Tuesday Treats dated 6 April.  I’ve done that now, and it’s here:


Secondly, I forgot that 23 April is St George’s Day.  I’ll make up for that now, so far as I can.

(By the way, there is a mismatch between my clock and this clock, and trying to change it only seems to make it worse.  I’m not staying up to 2.00am to get the right date on.  Really, I’m not.)

So, back to St George’s Day.  George and the dragon.  I don’t have any images of anything George-y, or anything dragon-y.  I do have a picture of something that I hope is hot and steamy.  Will that do?

Hugh's compost heap

It’s a nice, big compost heap.  One of our gardeners has managed to construct this mammoth heap – most of it is a cube 2 metres on a side – and there are a lot of grass clippings on there.  So, it definitely should be hot and steamy.

You can’t beat a good compost heap!

For those of us learning the ways of compost heaps, the covering keeps the heat and moisture in, and the dispersing weed seeds out.  Think of all those dandelion parachutes floating around right now.

Sadly, compost heaps shrink a very great deal in the making, but this should make a reasonable amount of finished compost for mulching flower beds in the autumn.


From the Allotment

Just as things are moving on in the garden, so they are in the allotment.  Our allotment gardener has sent some more images:


Here’s a young Bramley apple tree, just coming into blossom.  So many ways to use Bramley apples – makes your mouth water thinking about it!

Nat's Bramley apple A


Our gardener has added a raised bed over the winter.  Fortunately the work was done before the lockdown, or things might have ground to a halt….  I forgot to ask what had been sown in the bed – maybe we’ll get another picture later on.

Nat's raised bed A


There are flowers in the allotment, too.  This lovely tulip is nameless, but looks to me as though it could be Grand Perfection.  It’s similar to the flamboyant flamed tulips, the English Florist’s tulip, that kicked off Tulip Mania in Holland – that period of financial madness when a single tulip could sell for the price of a house.  The English Florist’s tulips aren’t commercially available any more because of the Tulip Breaking Virus that they carry – it affects other plants, including lilies, and is the cause of the dramatic colour breaks.  These modern flamed tulips don’t have that virus, and are irresistible for their drama.

Nat's tulip A


This diminutive tulip, smaller in all its parts but utterly charming, is a species tulip, Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’.  Species tulips should be grown more often – they’re no trouble at all.  They don’t need digging up for the summer like their big brothers and sisters, they increase slowly but steadily, and they are totally reliable.  And at 6-8inches tall for most of them, you can squeeze a lot into a small space.

Nat's Tulipa bakeri Lilac Wonder A


Thanks for sharing!

Bareroot perennials

We’re accustomed to going to garden centres and buying our plants already potted up and flourishing, rather than looking at pots of bare earth.  Pots of bare earth tend not to sell well.

However, with half an eye on climate change, there’s something of a move back to the Old Ways.  I’m talking about buying bareroot perennials.  It’s the way a lot of perennials used to be sold, often wrapped in damp newspaper.  Sure, garden centres, and even supermarkets, still offer a few bareroot perennials, in plastic bags with peat or wood shavings to keep them moist.  But, they’re a limited range – usually plants with big fleshy roots like peonies.

One of our gardeners put a toe in the water with a supplier she hadn’t used before – Farmer Gracy.  We all know the feeling.  You open the plastic bag, and all you can see is a handful of dry, dusty compost.  Is there even a plant in there?

Fear not.  Farmer Gracy didn’t disappoint.  After following the instructions (YES.  Follow the instructions), this is what happened.

Astrantia ‘Roma’

Julie's Astrantia Roma from Farmer Gracy A


I’m sure we’ll see some more pictures when they flower, but they’re looking good for now.

Tuesday Treats

Doesn’t time fly when you’re locked up, sorry, self-isolating.  But it’s Tuesday again, and time for me to torture the gardening groups.  Strange to think, if it weren’t for this corona virus, this would be our first week of term.  We would probably be looking at the Garden in April, we would have a real Nature Table, and I would be asking for volunteers to research and give a brief presentation on a Vegetable of the Week.

Anyway, it is what it is, so here is our virtual nature table.  Tell me what you think these are.

Edited to add : This is Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ AGM, a very good form of lungwort that develops all-silver leaves as the season progresses.  The RHS does not ascribe it to a particular species, presumably because it has hybrid origins.

Glynis;s Pulmonaria Diane Clare A


Edited to add:  This is Pulmonaria rubra ‘Redstart’, after the bird of that name.  It’s one of the earliest pulmonarias, and can flower as early as midwinter.  The flowers do not change colour, remaining coral-red.

Hugh's Pulmonaria Redstart A


Edited to add:  Brunera macrophylla ‘Mr Morse’ (PBR), reportedly a cross between B. ‘Inspector Morse’ and B. ‘Betty Bowring’.  It’s unusual for it’s white flowers.

Glynis's Brunnera macrophylla Mr Morse A


Edited to add: Dodecatheon.  While nameless, I think it must be D. meadia f. album AGM, common name the white American cowslip, or Shooting Stars.  Plus a rather fetching metal chicken sculpture.

Glynis's Dodecatheon meadia f alba A


Edited to add: Podophyllum versipelle ‘Spotty Dotty’ AGM (PBR)

Glynis's Podophyllum versipelle Spotty Dotty A


Edited to add: Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

Hugh's Euphorbia griffithii A


Edited to add: Centaurea montana, the perennial cornflower.  The cultivar name is uncertain. but it looks like ‘Purpurea.  ‘Amethyst Dream’ may be the same plant, with PBR applied to it.

Nat's Centaurea montana A


Edited to add:  Knautia macedonica, the Macedonian scabious.

Nat's Knautia macedonica A


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